A Murder in the Park

Neither journalism professor David Protess nor any of his students from the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern University spoke to Shawn Rech and Brandon Kimber for this 2014 documentary, which argues that Protess, in his zeal to exonerate death row inmate Anthony Porter for the 1982 murder of two south-side teenagers, essentially railroaded another man into prison. The man in question, Alstory Simon, served 15 years for the crime before he was himself exonerated, and he recently sued Northwestern for $40 million, so the story is far from over. Rech and Kimber make a damning case against Protess as well as the private investigator who helped him incriminate Simon and the attorney who negotiated Simon’s guilty plea. One might be tempted to accept the movie’s verdict on face value if the muddled murder case itself didn’t call into question the wisdom of treating journalists as if they were attorneys.